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Gwen Ifill, Political Journalist, Dead at 61







Gwen Ifill, one of the most prominent political journalists in the country, has died, according to PBS. She was 61.


When she took the helm of Washington Week in Review in 1999, Ifill became the first African-American woman to host a major political TV talk show. Ifill covered seven presidential campaigns and moderated the vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008. More recently, she moderated a presidential primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Ifill was also the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.
In 2013, Ifill was named co-host of the PBS NewsHour. In an interview with The New York Times, she reflected on what her appointment could mean to a new generation.

"When I was a little girl watching programs like this — because that's the kind of nerdy family we were — I would look up and not see anyone who looked like me in any way. No women. No people of color," she said. "I'm very keen about the fact that a little girl now, watching the news, when they see me and Judy [Woodruff] sitting side by side, it will occur to them that that's perfectly normal — that it won't seem like any big breakthrough at all."

Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, said Ifill was "a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world."


Ifill was a preacher's daughter. She was born in New York City to a Panamanian immigrant dad and a Barbadian mother. She started her journalism career as a print reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American. She went on to become a national political reporter for The Washington Post and the White House correspondent for The New York Times.
Ifill died after a battle with cancer.

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